Looking back and thinking forward

Month: July, 2010

The Green Buddha


It occurred to me during meditation this morning, that I have been interested in the Buddha figurine since I was a young child. I adored this green Buddha that my grandmother purchased from my step-father's store ever since I can remember. Was I eight years old? Ten? Or younger?

It was made in Czechoslovakia out of an expensive, heavy, green glass-type material. Today it is probably 50 or more years old. I had already emigrated from Africa to Israel when my grandmother died, and my aunt sent it over for me because my grandmother remembered how I had loved it. 

Since then, I have always collected Buddha statues, but I have never known why I am attracted to them. Recently, I decided to stop collecting them – again – for no reason that I can think of.

And then, suddenly, this morning, during breathing meditation, I remembered my green Buddha. I saw it in my mind as clear as the new day out there. Anxious to look at it more closely, I ran up to my study and took this photograph.

I wonder why I loved it when I was a child. I realize that my grandmother remembered me even after so many years we were apart, and that my aunt took the trouble to send it to me. I start to understand (perhaps for the first time) that it is one of my most cherished possessions.

I place it alone, in full view, apart from all the other Buddha figurines I have collected these past thirty years or so – right by the blooming geranium plant a colleague gave me recently to celebrate the publication of my new book.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: A parting gift

The Hutch


 … which arrived all the way from Seattle after residing with JJ for many years.


It fits snugly in the corner or our new dining room, as if it belonged there forever. Life partner stayed home to await the hutch's arrival, and I rushed home from work in excitement, especially because he let me know JJ had included a gift for me – beautiful smelling bath accoutrements for one of our bathrooms (or "Spas" as she termed them, when I called to thank her!). How did she guess they would match the third floor shower room, which is nestled right next to my newly developed study?

For now, I have placed two important gifts prominently on the hutch. An African picture picked out carefully and generously, and sent all the way from California by Marion for our new homecoming. The picture represents "moving" and "journey," so apt and meaningful, touching both our hearts – life partner and me.

The second is a wooden carving with Hebrew letters symbolizing space, letting go, and love, that Susan brought in person, accompanied by the gift of her Self, when she arrived all the way from Buffalo. She came especially to share in the new house with me. What an unforgettable visit she gave me! These past two days, we talked and talked – for hours, while walking for miles, eating good foods, sitting on the porch, or in various other rooms of our choosing – sharing and catching up on years of stories of our lives. My gratitude for Susan taking this time to spend together with me is simply impossible to describe.


The hutch joins the piano, which waits longingly for Gilad to stop by one day – who knows? The piano has special memories for me. It seems fitting and right that it stands across the room – facing- JJ's – now our – hutch – with gifts from two of my dearest, special friends. As I stand in the newly developing dining room, taking pictures to share with my readers, friends and family (who have been requesting pictures of our new home for weeks now), I realize that the new table and chairs are anxious to have a dinner party – house warming? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Shabat? Guests from afar – or near? Who knows?


I walk out of the dining room and find myself in the front section of the foyer facing the new rug we bought recently at a store close by … Dragan allowed us to take it home and live with it for a few days before purchasing – to get a feel for it in the new space.


What can I say? I fell in love with this rug. I am not sure this has ever happened to me before – falling in love with a rug, I mean. Whenever I arrive in the foyer – either from the dining room, down the stairs, through the living room, or even by the front door – I gasp – catch my breath and feel a surge of excitement. Yes indeed. I would safely say that these are all symptoms of falling in love.


From the hutch, to the piano, and all the way through to the new foyer rug, our home is coming together – slowly but surely, bit by bit.

I realized these past two days with Susan's generous visit to me, how important it is to share my life with dear friends. I bid Susan farewell this morning, and watched her car disappearing out to the highways for her journey home to Buffalo. I wandered through the rooms where we had spent talking and sharing our past and present lives and realized that I was relaxed – feeling less anonymous than I have felt for the past almost six years in this new city. 

My home has taken on a wholeness of me.

A room of their own


The plants are rejoicing …


Shooting new leaves or bursting into bloom …



Showing off their smarts …


Each one …


In their own way …


Greeting the days …


In a room of their own …


A room of their dreams … a room of my dreams.

Summer in Mount Airy

Today was a typical summer day in Mount Airy (my new neighborhood). Before the temperatures could rise into their usual nineties, I strode out for my morning walk down Lincoln, across at Hortter, right at Wayne, left at Sherman and over to McCallum toward my old apartment stomping grounds. On the way back I stopped in at the High Point Cafe for a crepe filed with turkey, spinach and cheddar accompanied by a very frothy, slightly wet non-fat cappuccino. Next to me were two middle-aged women quietly but intensely discussing something of importance to them. They were leaning across their small table almost reaching their faces into one another as they talked, gasped, gestured, and sighed. On the other side sat a young family, father, mother and toddler. The father was playfully teaching his young son about this and that. The mother watched them smiling from time to time, and all the while chomped pieces of blueberry scone. Others sat at tables on the sidewalk, their dogs splayed out panting in the heat of the day. I did not hear any one thing that was said even though people were up
close and personal around me. I sat silent as stone, almost as if in shock, and numbed out their voices.

It felt good to sit at my little table checking email on the iPhone,
and scribbling notes in my journal, as I munched the delicious fare cooked by the young man behind the counter. He did not seem too keen on light chatter – efficient and abrupt as he took my order, grumpily scolding me before I left, for placing my empty plate in the wrong pile. However, the savory crepe and small green salad he prepared was delicious and satisfying after my long, hot and humid walk around the neighborhood. Even so, I dropped a couple of dollars tip into the jar on the counter as I stumbled out later. 

It was the perfect spot to process the therapy session I had a few hours prior to my walk. I had left the therapist bewildered and sad. When I arrived home, I immediately donned my sneakers and before I knew it, was striding out into the Mount Airy community, breathing in the few remaining puffs of fresh air before they were swallowed up by the humidity and intensity of the heat for the day. During the walk thoughts had been rising up to greet me. Memories, emotions, words, sentences, ideas, all churning and swirling – associations brought about by the few choice phrases the therapist offered at specific moments during the session.

Not wanting to be alone, but also not wishing to share my emotional
confusion with just anyone, the High Point Cafe was the exact
place to sit and write out the main points for me that had emerged from the therapy session, and continued during my walk. I tried to listen to me without judgment. I struggled to validate my feelings. And, when there was nothing left to challenge me, I picked up my small leather pouch, affixed the sun visor hat my sister had left with me last summer when she came to visit on her way home to Israel from England, and strode out into the blinding sun light for home.

A room of one’s own

So that is it. I have finally settled into a study of my own in our now house. It has taken almost six weeks to decide which room I would use, and it was a difficult decision indeed.


Up on the third floor under the roof, it has different nooks and angles:


The coffee corner with compact fridge and coffee maker. Now I will not need to run down three flights of stairs to get that second cup of coffee – especially when I am in the middle of blogging, for example!


Plants accompany me even to the third floor …


IKEA chair – one area of IKEA bookshelves … (all put together by self) …


Another set of bookshelves … bowl of water for Ada …


And, last, but not least – the computer station complete with Ada's old bed, and my trusty old desk that I assembled alone sixteen years ago.

I am getting there – slowly but surely. Today, I brewed my first coffee in the new coffee pot.

One of the things I really love about my room, is that there is ample space for me to do yoga. 

Sixteen years ago I read A Room of One's Own, and I think I have finally attained mine. I am allowing it to develop slowly, acquire its own vibe, find its soul, and nourish my brain as I enter into a new writing phase – a new life.

More on food and me

Okay. I get it. 

My relationship with food is indicative of my relationship with me. 

Most of the time I use food to numb myself out of feeling the tough stuff

In other words – I bolt! 

Yes indeed. 

Food is my drug of choice. 

What intrigues me the most lately is that after I have identified an emotion, difficult or otherwise, and if I allow myself to hold still with it, my hunger dissipates. 

It seems like for the first time, I am learning the difference [or is it the connection?] between physical hunger and emotional discomfort.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Pleasure in the small stuff

Food reflections

Sitting in Starbucks thinking while eating the croissant I just ordered:
Soft and warm half way through body not hungry thoughts stray to ultrasound and up upcoming biopsy must live life to the fullest right now and what about my relationships with men? Always complicated and full of longing Charlie was the first time I realized my immortality and that I was lovable …
No need for the croissant now … Throw half of it away as tears fill my eyes.
Fear, longing good feelings worth exploring further – no need to numb them with food – just want to feel them some more … full up now … my soul I mean … With feelings – not food.

Blog posted here.

“Women, Food and God”

The other day, I stumbled upon Geneen Roth's latest book quite
by accident. In the past I read her books and was intrigued with the idea of
giving up diets and taking responsibility for my eating habits. However, I
never quite trusted myself enough, and used her writings as an excuse to eat
what I liked, when I liked, and how much I wanted!

Recently after a 5-year hiatus from decades of therapy, I
decided to seek out a therapist in my area. I find myself, at age 61 realizing,
as if for the first time, that I always bolted from facing my feelings. This is
amazing and frustrating for me to discover. For, during the past 8 years I have
authored two books for teachers of young children specifically to help them
confront their emotions in order to interact with children and families more
effectively. Indeed, one of my books is even titled, “Confronting Our
.” I taught young children for many years before becoming a teacher
educator, and know first-hand that my earliest emotional memories affect how I
behave today. I am convinced that unless we become aware of how we feel, we
could unintentionally emotionally harm young children in our care. I realized
in therapy that I write, and teach others about this topic all over the country
because it brings me closer to facing my own issues.

Women, Food, and God” resonates with me. Timing is
everything! And I discovered it right in the thick of working to confront my
emotions brain, head and heart on. Reading each page I felt as if Geneen was
speaking to me directly. Indeed, her whole book is an “aha” moment! But
especially this quote:

But the person who would be
killed, the “I” in the “pain is big and I am small” belief, is an idea, a
memory, an image of yourself left over from childhood. You already felt
destroyed. That was then. You will never be that small again. You are not
dependent on someone else to hold you, to love you so that you continue
breathing. (Page 42)

I want to stay and be curious about me. Not as a collection
of memories. Not from replaying what happened to me. I want to be the me who is
not my past, not my habits, not my compulsions (page 43).

For at age 61 I
realize that I have already survived extraordinary pain. There is no more time
to lose. From now on, I would like to experience joy as well! 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Infants on my mind

The blank page

Photo 10

It feels as if I am living in a strange land this summer. My usual routines have still to be developed. I cannot get over what a creature of habit I had become in the old apartment. And now, everything has changed. All turned around and upside down. Focus, focus, focus. Or just let it flow into what it needs to become? Mostly I take my cues from little Ada. For example, she taught me to use the steep little staircase that winds its way down to the kitchen from the second floor. She and I bound up and down that one. It cuts off half the number of steps we need from the larger staircase, which goes between the foyer and upstairs. We choose the back steps to pick up a short nibble, cup of coffee, or return to the kitchen for odds and ends I might have forgotten on my way upstairs. Ada follows me around, her paws pitter-pattering on the hard wood floors. Sometimes she climbs up to the third floor, where recently I created a yoga room. She sits on the landing and calls out with short, sharp meows that become mini yowls if I do not respond immediately. She sighs in satisfaction, and rolls around with coy glances and very slight wags of her bushy tail when I make my way up to her. As I perform my yoga asanas or sit in breathing meditation to the sounds of cars roaring past outside the window, Ada lies quietly nearby. I think at some level she and I miss the large old oak tree that used to stand so tall and strong outside the living room window in the old apartment. And we both still need to find that one spot we can call our own, as we did in my tiny little study back there … back when?

Photo 9

And yet, mostly I do not look back. The house is fun and beautiful to be
within. This summer, slowly but surely, bit by bit, I will develop new
habits and routines. There is something about the structure and form of
this home that invites me to become more creative. Something about this
time in my life that urges me to expand my sense of who I am, discover
my power, or what I deserve. It feels daunting to sit before a blank page. The urge to write comes
and goes and slips away again. But I realize as I write this short piece, that more than anything, writing is what grounds and empowers me – indeed, even saves me.